On February 10, 2018, the Bishop Herbert Thompson Chapter of the Union of Black Episcopalians and the Diocese of Southern Ohio in Association with Christ Church Cathedral will host “Becoming the Beloved Community,” the theme for the Annual Absalom Jones Symposium on Racial Justice and Reconciliation and Festal Eucharist.
The day will feature the keynote address by Dr. Catherine Meeks, founding executive director of the Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing and author of Living into God’s Dream: Dismantling Racism.
The preacher for the Eucharist will be the Rev. Dr. Gayle Fisher- Stewart, founder of the Center for the Study of Faith in Justice at Calvary Episcopal Church, Washington, D.C., where she is associate rector.
The symposium will include Episcopalians throughout the Diocese of Southern Ohio, as well as members of area AME, Lutheran and Methodist churches and other faith communities. (Bus transportation will be available from Columbus and Dayton.)
About the Annual Event
Since 1981, the Southern Ohio chapters and interest groups affiliated with the Union of Black Episcopalians have sponsored and hosted an annual celebration commemorating the life and legacy of Absalom Jones, the first black priest in the Episcopal Church.
For the first 26 years, this event was rotated among the four historical black congregations in the Diocese of Southern Ohio – St. Andrew’s in the Evanston neighborhood of Cincinnati, St. Simon’s in the Lincoln Heights neighborhood of Cincinnati, St. Margaret’s in the city of Dayton, Ohio, and St. Philip’s in Columbus, Ohio. These four churches took turns serving as host and providing hospitality for the event.
The highlight of the event was and continues to be a Festal Eucharist featuring a choir made up of all four congregations and drawing upon the music from the Negro spirituals and Gospel traditions. This was augmented by drummers and praise dancers and outstanding preaching.
In 2007 the annual rotation of this annual event was expanded to be a Festal Eucharist sponsored by the Bishop Herbert Thompson Chapter of the Union of Black Episcopalians and the Diocese of Southern Ohio and hosted by Christ Church Cathedral in Cincinnati.
In 2015, this annual celebration was expanded further to become a daylong event to include a Symposium on Racial Justice and Reconciliation and concluding with Chapter awards and a Festal Eucharist featuring an Ecumenical Mass Choir and guest artist and preacher.